By Donald Ramotar, former President of Guyana
In my article which appeared in the Weekend Mirror of April 23-4, 2016, I pointed out that the racism that is practiced by the APNU+AFC regime is not confined to discrimination against Indian Guyanese, but also against Afro-Guyanese members and known supporters of the PPP/Civic and those African Guyanese who show some independent thinking.
That article attracted the fire of Mr David Hinds, a known supporter and defender of this regime. My response to him has drawn further fire from many of the supporters of the regime and known haters of the PPP/Civic.
While some of them were attacking my position, others got personal – proving my point that the regime was continuing this despicable practice.
The situation regarding Bishop Juan Edghill is clear evidence that this regime pulls out all the stops when they are confronted by an African Guyanese PPP/Civic member.
Two incidents involving the former Minister and a present member of the National Assembly indicate that he is being targeted for harassment because of his work on behalf of the PPP/C.
In the first instance, he was charged for discarding a car by the city police, an allegation he has since denied and is now being placed in front of the court to answer this charge.
Meanwhile, in the National Assembly, the harassment is continuing unabated. The Speaker of that August body is behaving like a gendarme of the APNU and not acting impartially. His behavior is discrediting the office and the National Assembly as a whole.
He is sending Bishop Edghill to the Committee of Privileges to be disciplined for a statement that the MP made about the increase in salaries that the regime took for themselves. An examination of the record would show that many members made remarks far more serious than the Bishop. However, Edghill is the only one singled out for discipline.
Bishop Edghill is also being harassed whilst speaking on the floor and his requests to pose questions to government ministers is refused. Why is the Bishop being treated with such venom? It is clearly because he is bright, articulate and Black.
This the APNU+AFC cannot stand. They are continuing the policy that they own Black people. Black people are not supposed to have different opinions from that of the PNC/APNU and now AFC.
Black people who will stand up to them and oppose their racist actions are seen as their worst enemies. The racism is continuing against Indo-Guyanese as well. Lionel Wordsworth, a young, bright engineer who did great work as Head of the National Drainage & Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has been fired.
He successfully completed many essential projects that have improved the lives of thousands of Guyanese. Including, the Hope Canal. Why was he then dismissed? No reason was given by the NDIA board. That leaves us to conclude that his removal is really linked to his ethnicity. This is another clear act of racism. Wordsworth has proven his competence and his capacity for hard work. There is no good reason for his dismissal.
Also, there are no reports of the many highly trained technical people (Indo-Guyanese) who are being fired at GuySuco without reason. At the same time, old retirees, some almost in their nineties are being employed with super salaries. It reported that these persons are guaranteed a take home pay of $1.2M per month!
These are two consultants in factory operations, one in Agriculture and one in the Human Resources Department. The gross pay for these consultants plus vacation allowance and gratuity will cost the corporation $140M per year. This does not include expenses for vehicle, fuel, security and domestic staff.
This is a clear case of jobs for the boys. At the same time, competent managers of Indian origin are being fired for no good reason. Ethnic cleansing at the top level has commenced.
Vincent Alexander, in his attempt to respond, did not totally deny that African Guyanese supporters of the PPP and PPP/Civic were being victimised, but sought to share the blame and say both PPP and PNC were guilty of this practice.
This is not true. He himself should be able to recall how many Indo-Guyanese PPP members and leaders were enticed to leave the PPP and join the then PNC government. None of these persons ever had any violence meted out to them. J.C Chandisingh, Vincent Teekah (he met his death under suspicious circumstances, but it was PNC leaders who were suspected of killing him), Harrylall, Puran and others. None of them had any violence or organised PPP attacks meted out to them.
Alexander regaled us with what I would call a ‘Nancy story’ about him visiting a PNC Indian member on the Corentyne and how people reacted. He was careful not to say that they were violent, although he tried to imply that.
All of us who lived through that period know that if any Indian PNC member was attacked, the army and police would have been unleashed on that village by the PNC regime. People would be beaten, jailed and harassed otherwise.
I have noticed also that none of those persons who chose to comment disputed that Rodney was murdered because he was Black and opposed to the PNC dictatorial regime. This is an accepted truth.
These are the facts. Facts, as they say, are stubborn things – they cannot be wished away.
It is expected that the PNC/APNU/AFC propagandists will continue this racist line. It has worked for them and it has proven to be a potent tool. However, they must know that democratic critics will continue to fight against such positions, which are designed to cripple the minds of the Guyanese people.
The vindictive actions taken against Bishop Edghill and other Afro-Guyanese who express their discontent with the APNU/PNC regime has proven that the ‘leopard’ has not changed its spots.
(Editor’s note: The above is an opinion piece by the former President sent to INews and other media houses for publication)